Case for Analysis: Terry’s Dilemma

Case for Analysis: Terry’s Dilemma

Subject: Business    / Management

“Case for Analysis: Terry’s Dilemma

Terry has worked for Dutchman Enterprises for seven years. Dutchman is a call center that handles customer service inquiries (e.g., questions about bills) for several major credit card companies. Since staring with the company, Terry has progressed from mailroom worker to customer service representative, and he is now senior customer service specialist in the call center. Terry’s technical skills are unmatched, and there is not a cus- tomer service problem in the department that he doesn’t know how to fix. Terry’s supervisor, Frank, is a new college graduate, and while Frank is fine with the depart- ment’s everyday administration, when something out of the ordinary happens, he has the sense to seek out Terry for advice. Truth be told, not a thing happens in the de- partment without Terry’s informal approval.

Terry enjoys the attention and respect he gets as the go-to person in the department. Even though it’s techni- cally against the rules, Terry, not Frank, writes the work schedules (Frank admits that Terry knows who does what best). Not surprisingly, Terry has been known to use the schedule to recognize or punish his fellow colleagues in the department.

Terry didn’t always have such an enviable position. He failed to graduate from high school and the neighbor- hood “club” of which he was president was characterized by many, including the police, as a gang. At the urgings of Terry’s parents, a close family friend—“Uncle Jake”— took a personal risk and got Terry the job at Dutchman. Jake set up a weekly lunch appointment with Terry to help him set his priorities and focus on his future. Through these mentoring sessions, Jake encouraged Terry to get his GED and then his associate’s degree at the local community college. Jake was proud of what Terry had accomplished and the strong bond that they had formed.

Although Jake retired from Dutchman last year, he still keeps in touch with Terry and the various other employees whom he had mentored over the years. To his great pleasure, he receives several calls each month

from this group, some just checking in, and others ask- ing for his opinion and advice. Just last week Jake re- ceived a call from the HR director. “There’s going to be a supervisor opening in the marketing department. Do you know anyone who may be ready for this chal- lenge?” Jake responded that he might and as soon as he hung up the phone, he called Terry to set up a meeting.

Terry always enjoyed these get-togethers with Jake. Although their meetings were now less frequent than when he was a “rebel kid,” he still appreciated hearing Jake’s insights. On more than one occasion, Terry shared that it was more than likely he’d be dead if it weren’t for Jake’s intervention. Terry was honored when Jake told him about the new supervisor opportunity and how Jake thought he was the man for the job. Jake’s statement, “it will be a hard transition but you can do it and it’s time for you to move on,” echoed in Terry’s mind on his drive home.

Moving to another area like marketing would be diffi- cult. Terry was “the man” in the call center. He had spent years crafting his skills and had the respect of his fellow workers and management alike. If he made the move, he’d be starting fresh. He wondered if his workers would make the same jokes about him that he and his buddies did whenever they got a new supervisor. There was also the salary issue. If he was to take the job as supervisor, he’d no longer get his overtime, and in some weeks his take- home pay could even be less than it is now.

Jake had told Terry to think long term. They were scheduled to meet again tomorrow to talk about the spe- cifics on how to apply for the supervisory position. With Jake’s endorsement, Terry was a “shoo-in” to get the job, but he still wasn’t sure if he really wanted to take the new supervisor position.


1. Apply French and Raven’s bases of power to Jake and Terry. Explain your answer.

If Terry takes the job of supervisor, his bases of power may shift. Explain this change.
The chapter reintroduces McClelland’s need for power. How would you rate Jake’s and Terry’s “n Pow”? Referring back to the chapter on motivation, how else might you apply McClelland’s theory to these two individuals? Explain your answer.

4. What actions would you suggest to Terry for him to be successful in his new position? Be sure to include political tactics in your answer.
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